Scarlet Letter

I recently read the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I was impressed, as I always am when I read books written by authors who are better at their craft than I. Which, if we are honest, is pretty much all published authors. Hawthorne masterfully created his story in a way that was compelling and beautiful.

The Custom House was a dark time for me, it was really rough to get through. It wasn’t that it was particularly unpleasant reading, it was just rather difficult to get through. Many people have asked the purpose of the custom house over the years, and I believe that I have come up with the solution; the purpose of the Custom house is to ferret out the unworthy readers. Hawthorne only wants people who are committed to reading his book to read it, it is not a light piece of fiction, and he doesn’t want anyone reading it lightly. I know that there is a real reason for including it in his book, I just don’t know what it is. If you look hard enough you would probably be able to find it, he is too good of a writer to put something in his book and not have it serve a purpose.

Beyond the Custom House, the story is amazing. he uses beautiful diction and such rich imagery to create wonderful, characters that I was able to relate to.  I thought that the ending of the book was the most beautiful scene I had ever had the pleasure to encounter, be it in a book or a movie. I loved the book over all. I could go on for quite a while prattling about how good it was, but I fear that I would bore you. All I can do is tell you that it is an excellent book that you should read.


One of the ideas in the Scarlet Letter was that it is better to express your sin and let the world know about it than to keep it a secret. Early in the book when we can only infer that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father, he is having a conversation with Chillingworth about how it is far better to confess a sin and find relief than to hide it. I remember thinking to myself, that guy is really dumb, he says it is better, he knows it in fact, but he doesn’t do it. Then I realized that we do the same thing. I think its better to tell someone I sinned against them, but then I don’t. Why? Because although we know it in our heart that it is better, our brain takes quite a bit of convincing. We must all decide what is best, do we tell the world about our problems, or do we keep them inside where only we can see them, the choice is yours.


2 thoughts on “Scarlet Letter

  1. Michael, I really enjoyed reading your post. I could hear your voice through the words. I’m not sure if you intended for the second paragraph to e funny but I laughed anyways. You had really good ideas and I just wish you expanded on them more especially the last paragraph. You talked about 2 things and your post would have been more effective if you chose one of them. Your language is very conversational and this is includes the reader in your post very effectively. Hope my comment was helpful 🙂


  2. Michael, you truly have the gift of humor. I am so in awe of your funny posts because I could never make any of my writing that humorous and witty. It’s truly a talent. Your introduction paragraph is engaging, and the rest of the post keeps the reader entertained and comfortable. The spoiler alert is very thoughtful; I would never have thought of putting one in, but it makes tons of sense. Alright, bear with me, I have a few suggestions for improvements. First, you should work on consistency with terms. When discussing the Custom House, sometimes you capitalize both words in the title, sometimes you capitalize only Custom, and sometimes you capitalize neither. The inconsistency detracts from the polished-ness of the piece. Second, as a reader, I’m not exactly sure what your overall point is. At first, I thought it was going to be a discussion of the purposes of the Custom House. Then you talk about Hawthorne’s use of rhetorical devices, and then you explore the concept of hidden sin and choices. Maybe think about clarifying your central argument. And lastly, remember to do a quick final edit, looking for places where you missed capitalization or left out apostrophes. Sorry, that’s a lot to think about, but I truly appreciated your post; keep it up!!



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